Welker: Going to get more opportunites

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Welker: Going to get more opportunites

FOXBORO -- Wes Welker had a monster game when his Patriots visited Buffalo last season in Week 3.

He had 16 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

The Patriots would love to see him put up those numbers once again against the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday, as they try to get back to .500.

And if there's any type of trend, then Welker could have a similar type of day. His 2012 season has been a steady increase from Week 1 to Week 3, having only three receptions for 14 yards against the Titans in the season-opener, followed by five receptions for 95 yards in a Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and then an eight-reception, 142-yard game against the Ravens on Sunday night.

Welker's Week 3 outburst was a sign that the Patriots were not phasing him out of anything, and that perhaps, it was nothing more than strategy.

"I think that's just the way it's worked out," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Friday. "I mean, Wes is always prepared. He works hard. Sometimes the opportunities come. Sometimes they don't. But, a lll you can do is keep working hard, and put yourself in a good position to take advantage of them when they show up."

Welker has yet to catch a touchdown this season. Whatever the game plan may be on Sunday in Buffalo, Welker -- like the first three games -- will be ready. And he'll be ready to have another big game.

And even if he doesn't have a big game against the Bills, he realizes it's a long season, and that the opportunities will come.

"I just go out there and try to do my job on a daily basis," said Welker on Friday. "And when my number's called and I get that opportunity, i try to take advantage of them. We have a long season to go. And I'm going to get a lot more opportunities. And I've got to make sure that I'm making the plays for the team for us to win games."

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.